House OKs $20 million for area transportation projects
Twenty million dollars from the federal government got one step closer to being secured in direct funding for three local transportation projects.
A small part of President Joe Biden’s sweeping infrastructure package, the Invest in America Act, passed the House Thursday with bipartisan support.
The bill secures $11 million for the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments to fund the Highway 101 Multimodal Corridor Project, which will fund improvements between Santa Barbara and Montecito and enhancements to adjacent local streets, including the Cabrillo Boulevard Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvement Project.
The rest of the funding will be split between two projects in San Luis Obispo County — $5 million for the San Luis Obispo Regional Transit Authority to purchase 11 battery-electric buses to replace diesel-powered buses and $4 million for the San Luis Obispo Council of Governments to build a non-motorized multi-use path along State Route 1, connecting the communities of Morro Bay and Cayucos.
U.S. Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, fought for and secured the funding. He said the extra funding will help ease traffic congestion and curb carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
In addition, he authored legislation to protect public safety, support local infrastructure projects and preserve transit options in the bill.
“The transportation sector is America’s biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. It is crucial that we make smart investments that revitalize our economy and modernize our transportation systems so this sector is part of the climate solution, not part of the problem,” Rep. Carbajal said in a statement. “This bill kills two birds with one stone by putting people to work bringing our roads, bridges, buses, trains and water infrastructure into the 21st century. That means good-paying jobs, clean air and water, and better transportation options for Central Coast residents.”
Marjie Kirn, the executive director of SBCAG, applauded the congressman for “solving the persistent backlog of transportation infrastructure and public transit options for communities like Santa Barbara County.”
She said in a statement: “Carbajal’s aggressive advocacy is just what we need to deliver Central Coast priorities like funding for the U.S. 101 Carpinteria to Santa Barbara project, protecting transit partners’ access to resources and recognizing the seriousness of strong Federal partnerships to build a climate resilient future.”